Published: August 19, 2011
A collection of Anatolian kilims gifted to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by Caroline McCoy-Jones is showcased in a choice exhibition of two dozen of the finest examples. “The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection,” is on view in the textile arts gallery at the de Young September 10⁊une 10.
The pre-Nineteenth Century Anatolian flat-woven kilims represented include a variety of design types, regional styles, as well as fine examples of artistic and visual prowess. The kilims in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s permanent collection are considered the most important group of Anatolian kilims outside Turkey.
Major patrons to the Fine Arts Museums Textile Arts Department, Caroline and H. McCoy Jones have donated more than 800 textile works to the museum. The importance of these collectors is paramount in the textile arts community and “The Art of the Anatolian Kilim” is a celebration of their gift.
Curator Jill D’Alessandro explains, “The first presentation of works from this collection in 1990 signified a breakthrough in the appreciation of this weaving tradition. Not only was it the first time a Western museum had mounted a major exhibition dedicated to Anatolian kilims, but it was also the first time that kilims of this age, rarity and fragility were seen by the public; subsequently, the Anatolian kilim entered into the pantheon of the textile arts.
With more than 20 years passing since this important collection made its public debut, many visitors, scholars and textile enthusiasts will be able to enjoy and study them for the first time.”
This selection of dynamic weavings were produced between the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by semi-nomadic and village women of Anatolia. The kilims are characterized by bold abstract designs that have been translated as symbolic renderings of architectural, human, animal and floral motifs, some of which trace back to Neolithic times.
D’Alessandro explains, “These surviving examples, in their fragmented states, show the passage of time. Although structural disintegration has interrupted the design field on some of these pieces, their colors remain deeply saturated and their patterns simple and powerful.”
The de Young is in Golden Gate Park at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. For more information, 415-750-3600 or www.deyoungmuseum.org .
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